So, over the past year I have began to write a series of articles related to the world of pro wrestling, while I do want to keep this as a movie and video game review site, I do think it is fun to throw in some variety. I have had a number of pro wrestling specials and they have all been fun. But ultimately, there has been a list that I want to make for a long time now and I have recently just came to the realization that I don’t really give a shit any more, so fuck it, let’s do this shit. I am going to list the 100 Greatest Pro Wrestlers of All Time!
This post is here to announce how I am going to create this list, what the perimeters are for this list, and finally to list the 50 honorable mentions with one or two sentences for each of them, to show all of you which 50 wrestlers came close… But ultimately were not able to crack the Top 100.
So here is how this is going to go. Past this one, once each week for the next ten weeks I am going to post a list of ten wrestlers counting down, starting at 100 and going to 91, 90 to 81, and so forth until we hit the top ten. Who all is in the running for this list? EVERYONE! This is not just a “Greatest WWE Wrestlers of All Time” or “Greatest American Wrestlers of All Time.” This is an encompassing list of the 100 greatest wrestlers from its infancy to today and will cover wrestlers from USA, Japan, Mexico, the UK, and so forth. I AM GOING TO PREFACE THIS THOUGH that I am just one guy trying to list the 100 greatest of all time of wrestling PERIOD! I did a lot of research and compiled a great list, but inevitably, there will be a few people I forget. I do apologize if I leave out a British Wrestling legend or Indian Wrestling legend, due to the fact that I’m not as well adverse with those schools of wrestling, but I am only one guy trying to make this list.
I am also grading this on a number of factors. In ring wrestling work as well as microphone skills are going to be factors, but the biggest factor out of all of them is the impact that a wrestler made on the industry. If a wrestler was well known for being an innovator or the leader of a new revolution, that may very well push them above someone who was more famous, a better in ring technician, or great on the stick. Also, and this is important, this is a list of the greatest SINGLES wrestlers of all time. These are wrestlers based on merits as a singles star. So while The Fabulous Freebirds, the Midnight Express, The Road Warriors, Demolition, The New Age Outlaws, Edge & Christian, and the Hardy Boyz may be influential in wrestling… This doesn’t necessarily mean that their team’s run will earn individual members a spot on this list. With that being said, I am looking forward to seeing where this list goes and the comments from all of you so let’s start with the 50 wrestlers who didn’t quite make the cut.
50 Honorable Mentions
Raven: One of the most underrated wrestlers of all time, Raven ruled the roost of ECW and early day TNA as well as had respectable runs in WCW and WWE.
Ken Shamrock: While he may not have had the strongest acting talent, Ken Shamrock was one of the first MMA fighters to change to the realm of pro wrestling.
Taka Michinoku: While WWE may have treated him wrong, Taka Michinoku was the first Light Heavyweight Champion in the promotion and became a respected legend when he returned to Japan.
Perro Aguayo Jr: Former leader of Perros del Mal, Perro Aguayo Jr tragically passed away last year. But his memory will not be forgotten.
Larry Zbsyzko: Commentator, football player, and pro wrestler, Larry Zbsyzko was a man who permeated lairs of popular culture.
Shinjiro Otani: One of the best Japanese wrestlers in the 1990’s, the man has now become the President of promotion Pro Wrestling Zero 1.
Chief Jay Strongbow: A legend of the territory years, Chief Jay Strongbow was one of the all-time greats.
Arn Anderson: While not the most charismatic wrestler in the world, Arn Anderson was a technical masterpiece and one fourth of the legendary Four Horsemen.
Mikey Whipwreck: Mikey Whipwreck is a perfect symbol for Extreme Championship Wrestling. He was plucky, booked masterfully by Paul Heyman, and had the scrappy underdog mentality.
Kensuke Sasaki: Kensuke Sasaki is a wrestler who has competed across Japan’s major promotions and has gone down as one of the greatest heavyweights.
Tony Atlas: One of the first wrestlers to break the color barrier, Tony Atlas was one of the best ones to ever lace up the boots.
William Regal: Often considered to be the greatest wrestler to never win the big one, William Regal has earned the respect of the entire wrestling community.
Masahiro Chono: An American born Japanese wrestler, Masahiro Chono is known for his time in New Japan Pro Wrestling as well as wrestling for WCW during the height of the nWo.
Kota Ibushi: After revealing himself to the common American wrestling fans during the Cruiserweight Classic, Kota Ibushi has been a Junior Heavyweight legend in Japan up until this point.
Gorilla Monsoon: Gorilla Monsoon would be higher on this list if it weren’t for the fact that his amazing commentating talent eclipsed his tremendous wrestling talent.
Gerald Brisco: Along with Jack Brisco, the two became two of the best tag team wrestlers during the years in the territories.
Jack Brisco: Along with Gerald Brisco, he and Jack had one of the most successful tag team in the territories. Gerald’s stooge antics and Jack’s singles career push him just higher than Gerald.
Chavo Guerrero Jr: While not as good as some of his other family members, Chavo Guerrero has become a Mexican wrestling legend by sheer force of name and talent.
Christopher Daniels: Known as the King of the Indies, Christopher Daniels is a representation of the rise of independent promotions during the 2000’s as well as the height of TNA and early year ROH.
Masato Tanaka: Masato Tanaka was one of the big names that made ECW what it was in the 1990’s. Along with Yoshihiro Tajiri, the two were the Japanese representatives of hardcore wrestling.
Rick Martel: A Canadian born wrestler who made a name for himself in the 80’s WWE mid card, Martel was known for being one of the first narcissist gimmicks.
Riki Choshu: The Korean-Japanese wrestling legend was one of the wrestlers that made Japanese wrestling and New Japan Pro Wrestling what it is today.
Frank Gotch: A classic wrestler from pro wrestling’s infancy, Frank Gotch was one of the pioneers of early day wrestling.
Batista: Starting off as a member of the Evolution faction, Batista became one of the main event main stays in WWE during the mid to late 2000’s. Batista has since taken The Rock route and transferred to film, recently starring in The Guardians of the Galaxy.
Nick Bockwinkel: Another wrestler from the early ages of pro wrestling, Bockwinkel was most well-known for his time in American Wrestling Association.
Rayo de Jalisco Jr: Translated to the Lightning from Jalisco and son of the original Rayo de Jalisco, Jalisco was known for his time in CMLL.
Paul Orndorff: Known also as “Mr. Wonderful,” Orndorff was an upper mid card talent from the 1980’s for WWE and WCW.
George Hackenschmidt: One of the early pioneers of wrestling, the man who looked to be made of 90% upper body muscle, Hackenschmidt helped transform the wrestling image.
Gypsy Joe: A legend in Mexico as well as a hardcore icon, Gypsy Joe was the inaugural CMLL champions.
Seth Rollins: His time in WWE is just blossoming at this point, but Seth Rollins is on the fast track to being the next big thing in the world of professional wrestling.
Dr. Wagner Jr: BIEN! BIEN! Bien! Bien… bien… That is all you have to say. Dr. Wagner Jr is a Mexican wrestling legend and one of the best wrestlers currently working the Mexican wrestling scene.
Jun Akiyama: The current president of the presitigous All Japan Pro Wrestling, Jun Akiyama is the innovator of the Blue Thunder Driver as well as wrist lock exploder suplex.
Katsuyori Shibata: His image has been tarnished slightly by leaving the NJPW at the height of his talent for mixed martial arts, but Shibata is on the fast track of proving his potential by taking the NEVERweight division by storm.
Tiger Jeet Singh: A famous wrestler from India, Tiger Jeet Singh may very well be the best wrestler from the subcontinent. He just barely misses the list due to the fact that Singh never made it huge in any of the more well-known wrestling promotions.
Psycho Clown: Psycho Clown is now one of the biggest wrestlers in Mexico and is on a comet towards superstardom. Making this list a few years down the road will see him well within the top 100.
Ryusuke Taguchi: Taguchi is often considered one of the best Junior Heavyweights to step between the ropes for New Japan Pro Wrestling. He currently works part time and mainly works as a trainer.
Hector Garza: An amazing wrestler who was tragically cut short due to a bout with lung caner, Hector Garza was one of the biggest wrestlers in recent Mexican wrestling history.
Akira Hokuto: Often considered to be the most underrated wrestlers of all time. Akira Hokuto truly mastered her craft to become ahead of her time in regards to women’s wrestling.
Tito Santana: The original midcard icon, nowadays, midcard guys who never reached the top is kind of a commonality. Tito Santana made the midcard style an art form.
Brazo de Plata: A classic Mexican wrestler and father to Psycho Clown, de Plata is truly one of the greats.
Kevin Nash: While I’m not personally a fan of him, I do give the man respect for being a great politician as well as being one of the biggest names during the 90’s.
Hideo “KENTA” Itami: While his time in NXT still leaves a lot to be desired, when he came to NXT, he was often considered to be one of the greatest wrestlers of the next generation.
Alberto del Rio: While he may not be that memorable from his time in WWE, he has become a legend over the world as Alberto el Patron and CMLL as Dos Caras Jr.
Yuji Nagata: A Japanese wrestling legend who has recently reinvented himself to keep his longevity going in New Japan.
Satoshi Kojima: A wrestler who became one of the innovating factors in Japan during the early to mid 2000’s, Kojima is currently enjoying a renaissance in New Japan.
Bruiser Brody: His death may have been infamous, but what was most important was the fact that Brody was the innovator of hardcore wrestling. Without Brody, there would be no ECW.
Yokozuna: The man who was larger than life, Yokozuna was truly a sight to behold. Tragically time has not been too kind to him, but it still earns him an honorable mention.
Ron “Faarooq” Simmons: Often billed as one of the first black champions, Ron Simmons was truly an innovator of the sport who was able to break through the glass ceiling. His Nation of Domination gimmick is often seen as one of the most underrated and his time with Bradshaw is memorable for its time.
La Parka: While not much of anything in WCW, in Mexico La Parka is a legend and is still enjoying his ride as a legend in AAA.
The Ultimate Warrior: The wrestler who just missed the Top 100, The Ultimate Warrior tragically aged like milk instead of wine. But his short amount of time was certainly important to pro wrestling and as such he earns the 101 spot.